Some of the reasons the Atlanta Hawks are not playing Jalen Johnson much

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

Atlanta Hawks head coach Nate McMillan has received criticism for not playing their first-round draft pick, Jalen Johnson. He has been dominating in the G League, looking ready to be called up to the varsity squad. However, much to the chagrin of many Hawks supporters, he has not been playing at the top level.

Well, during the Philadelphia 76ers broadcast, Travis Schlenk shed some light on the matter. He was offered a spot on the varsity team during their short road-trip, but he declined it, requesting to stay in the G League instead to work on his game.

This is a tremendous sign for a young player. He decided to keep working on his game in live competition for almost 40 minutes per game, rather than sitting on the bench for the majority of his time in the Hawks squad. While in the G League he had some tremendous games over this period.

Jalen Johnson needs to grow as a player to be useful for the Atlanta Hawks

Thanks to the Covid-19 crisis that the Hawks are currently suffering through, Johnson has been called up from the G League. Days after this callup, the G League was suspended until January as so many of their players are being called up to NBA squads. The Hawks have signed Lance Stephenson, Wes Iwundu and Malcolm Hill to10-day hardship contracts.

However, the Hawks have had the opportunity to play Johnson in the last two games. He played ten minutes against the Orlando Magic and five minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers. When you look at both these games, you see a young player in need of development.

While Johnson has all the skill in the world, he hurried many of his possessions but also was unaware of things around him like the shot clock in the 76ers game. The more that he plays the better this will get, but at what cost for the Hawks?

Next. Rule changes allow two-way players more time with varsity squads. dark

During this Covid-19 crisis Johnson will continue to get limited minutes for the Hawks in which he can learn. However, some of the more experienced players the Hawks are brining in will get more minutes. At this point the development of a rookie is second to trying to get their season back on track.